Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I'm half way through the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain, and I feel like she describes the profile of a typical introvert like she's been following me around and observing me my whole life. No wonder the sale of this book has gone through the roof. There must be millions of introverts out there must have been feeling like me, as misunderstood and as oppressed all of our lives as misfits in modern society. Our parents apologize to other people about our shyness since we were little kids, as if being soft-spoken is a poor behavior that needs to be corrected/rehabilitated. She also talked about stimulation levels, that extroverts need a certain level of external stimulations (sights, sounds, novelty) to be energized and stimulated to work and get through the day, while us introverts are the opposite - too much sensory stimulation drains us and we need a quieter environment to be able to concentrate and focus on work that require a lot of thoughts.

In a way this book helps me understand my mother (very extroverted) better. It drives me nuts that the TV is always on at home and that she's almost always on the phone. According to this book, extroverts need this type of stimulation or else they feel agitated and/or bored. My preference to sit quietly and read or spend hours in front of the internet must drive her nuts too. Environmental settings that calm me down agitate her and ambiences that energize her give me headaches. No wonder we can never get along with each other.

I'm having the same problem with my current flatmate. She talks too loudly for my amygdala's liking (apparently for introverts, our amygdala cannot take too much perception stimulation). She gets bored easily, enjoys verbalizing all her thoughts, including the circular ones and acts that she knows have failed her in the past. I don't understand why someone would declare she's are going to do activity x, and that it's going to suck, and then still goes ahead and does it. Then as a self-fulfilling prophecy, she comes back and tell me she didn't enjoy activity x. If you are going to be stupid about your life, please keep it in your head. I don't need to hear about it. Having grown up in blessed Canada, I realize we can be annoyingly positive about everything, but it's also way too annoying to live with someone who is negative about everything. If something is good, she never admits the positivity and says instead, "It's no SO bad", but most things are either crap or sh*t.  She complains a ton, and talks too much, but she also proudly states the two facts to everyone she first meets. I really don't know how to deal with this. I don't know how to tell her to stop complaining so much and stop being so negative in an assertive tone (I usually sound like a very uncertain mouse). I mean she's actually a really nice person.. it's just her attitudes and her habit of stating things majorly depress me.

I think things may have been better if I told her off the first day we starting sharing a flat together, but now I just dread going home every day. Normally my home is a quiet haven for me to relax, de-stress,
and re-energize. Now it is a place of negativity and too much sound stimulation. Both my flatmate and I signed a one-year contract and it is extremely difficult to find rentals in this city. I think she can sense a little bit that I prefer quiet, but I think she needs to vent about her day and she needs the stimulation of lots of activities and the TV. Introverts and extroverts may complement each other in work situations, but they don't do too well sharing one small living space.

In a positive way I guess this situation will motivate me to go out more rather than spending every evening at home, like I've been doing most of my life I guess.


  1. I have always felt that introverts are the smartest individuals in society. Of course, this is not universal, but based on my interactions through law school and in other areas of life, I will say that it seems introverts (for the most part) think before acting and don't make a big deal about every small thing they do.

    Plus, they are often not on Facebook, which is a HUGE plus.

    1. Well, unfortunately by choosing a career in research, which is full of brilliantly intelligent introverts, my insecurity about my smarts is as bad as young girls working in the modeling industry, constantly stressed out when comparing themselves to other beautiful models. 99% of the time I feel like my IQ is about 20 points short for me to feel comfortable at my job.